Profile Essays: Are based on a writer’s newly acquired observations. Take readers behind the scenes of familiar places or introduce readers to unusual places and people. Provide information while at the same time arousing readers’ curiosity. Present people vividly and concretely through description, action, and dialogue. Reveal an attitude toward their subjects and offer—implicitly or explicitly—an interpretation of them. Create a dominant impression of the subject. The Assignment You will write a profile of a person from one of your communities, who you will interview. The person should be someone familiar to you who will be interesting or intriguing to others besides yourself. (You may not profile a classmate, a roommate, a teammate, a faculty member at Texas Wesleyan, or a staff member at Texas Wesleyan). Primary Research You will be required to interview your profile subject. The interview must be conducted face to face, so either in person or via Skype, Facetime , Zoom, or another video platform. Specifics · 750 words (3 pages double spaced) based on an interview · Use one source (see the interview assignments) that you will cite using MLA documentation style. (So, in this case, you will be incorporating secondary research with your primary research) Purpose and Audience Considerations: The Rambler Features section Evaluation Criteria · Focused subject with dominant impression · Clear thesis · Effective use of the interview · Ethical and effective use of your secondary source · Demonstrate college level sentence structure, variety, and grammar · Demonstrate correct MLA citation and documentation Features of the Form A profile writer’s primary purpose is to inform readers. Readers expect profiles to present information in an engaging way, however. Whether profiling people, places, or activities, the writer must meet these expectations. Although a reader might learn as much about a subject from an encyclopedia entry, reading the profile is sure to be more enjoyable. Readers of profiles expect to be surprised by unusual subjects. If the subject is familiar, they expect it to be presented from an unusual perspective. When writing a profile, you will have an immediate advantage if your subject is a person that is likely to surprise and intrigue your readers. Even if your subject is very familiar, however, you can still engage your readers by presenting it in a way they had never before considered. A profile writer has one further concern: to be sensitive to readers’ knowledge of a subject. Since readers must imagine the subject profiled and understand the new information offered about it, the writer must carefully assess what readers are likely to have seen and to know. Profile writers must also consider whether readers are familiar with the terminology they want to use. Because profiles involve information, they inevitably require definitions and illustrations. Since profile writers are not writing technical manuals or textbooks, they can choose to define only terms that readers need to know to follow what is going on. Some concepts or activities will require extended illustrations. Summary of Basic Features: 1. An Intriguing, Well-Focused Subject: The subject of a profile is typically a specific person, place, or activity. In this case, your subject will be a person. Although profiles focus on a person, a place, or an activity, they usually contain all three elements—certain people performing a certain activity at a particular place. Skilled profile writers make even the most mundane subjects interesting by presenting them in a new light. They may simply take a close look at a subject usually taken for granted, or they surprise readers with a subject they had never thought of. Whatever they examine, they bring attention to the uniqueness of the subject, showing what is remarkable about it. 2. A Vivid Presentation: Profiles particularize their subjects rather than generalize about them. Because profile writers are interested more in presenting individual cases than in making generalizations, they present their subjects vividly and in detail. Successful profile writers master the writing strategies of description, often using sensory imagery and figurative language—the senses of sight, touch, smell, taste, and hearing, and figures of speech such as simile and metaphor. Profile writers often describe people in graphic detail. They reveal personal habits and characteristic poses. They also use dialogue to reveal character. 3. A Dominant Impression: Readers expect profile writers to convey a particular impression or interpretation of the subject. They want to know the writer’s insights into the subject after having spent time observing the scene and talking to people. Indeed, this interpretation is what separates profiles from mere exercises in description and narration. To convey a dominant impression, writers carefully select details of scene and people and put these details together in a particular way. They also express an attitude toward the subject, an attitude that can be implied through details or stated explicitly. For example, a writer may express admiration, concern, detachment, fascination, skepticism, amusement—perhaps even two or three different feelings that complement or contradict one another. Writers also offer interpretations of their subjects. An interpretation may be implied or stated directly. It can be announced at the beginning, woven into the ongoing observations, or presented as a conclusion. In combination with carefully orchestrated details and a clearly expressed attitude, these interpretations give readers a dominant impression of the subject being profiled. The effort to create a dominant impression guides all the writer’s decisions about how to select materials and how to organize and present them. Profiles present a great deal of factual detail about their subject. However, the information can be woven into the essay in bits and pieces—conveyed in dialogue, interspersed throughout the narrative, given in description—rather than presented in one large chunk.
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